Sponsors should engage with clinical study sites early and often if they want to successfully implement new technology and to have the relationship operate “more as a partnership than a transaction,” says Silvina Baudino, director of site strategy for Teckro.
“Sites need to have a voice” working with vendors and sponsors from the outset, and it’s critical that the latter take the time to demonstrate the value of a proposed technology to the sites, Baudino notes. Communication and transparency are key, she adds, saying that sponsors don’t always realize that what they think is an amazing technology “will actually cause the site a lot more work.”
“Site needs have evolved during COVID-19, and we have to bear in mind that they are the end-users of any trial technology,” said Malia Lewin, global head of strategy for Teckro. “We are definitely seeing sponsors recognize that.”
For example, many sponsors Teckro works with have launched variations on site satisfaction initiatives. “They want to be the sponsor of choice,” Lewin says, especially in crowded and competitive therapeutic areas such as oncology trials. “Sponsors need to make sure sites are happy,” she notes.
“Sponsors are understanding more and more the importance of hearing the site voice,” agrees Baudino. Sponsors need to realize how “overwhelming” it can be for some sites when a new or upgraded technology enters the picture, she says. “Sites at a minimum average [working with] 10 vendors per study with different types of technology,” and that’s a lot to throw at a site and its team, she adds.
“Technology is here to stay,” though its usage might subside slightly as the COVID-19 pandemic winds down, Baudino observes. She sees hybrid, rather than full decentralized clinical trials, as ascendant in the coming years. “We all need to work together” for these technologies to be fully realized and not cause problems for sites, she stresses.
Author: Michael Causey